Just like depression, the words “anxiety” and “panic attack” are becoming very commonly used in daily conversations.
Anxiety is a normal human emotion that we all experience at times. You might feel anxious or nervous when taking a test, making an important decision or faced with an important problem at work. In order for anxiety to be a disorder, it has to interfere with our ability to lead a normal life.
There are several types of anxiety disorder including panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias and generalized anxiety disorder.
Here,we will focus on one of the most commonly heard disorders, which is panic disorder. You may have heard people describing themselves as panicking a lot, or having a panic attack. The panic disorder is actually much more serious that what we experience as “panic” in our daily lives. Many of these conclusions are based on having normal worries about situations or maybe just panicking.
Now are you ready to mark your checklist?
In order for what you are having considered a panic attack, you have to have 4 of the following within 10 minutes:
Your heart is pounding, you are having palpitations, your heart is beating fast,
You are sweating,
You are trembling and shaking,
There is a shortness in your breath,
You feel like you are choking, as if someone is holding your neck tight,
You have pain and discomfort in your chest,
You have nausea,
You feel dizzy and you feel like you would faint anytime,
You feel like what you are experiencing is not real and you are detached from reality,
You feel like you are losing control or going crazy,
You fear that you are going to die,
You feel numb and start tingling,
You get chills or hot flushes.
These may seem like a lot, but you have to at least 4 of them within the same 10 minutes in order to qualify for panic disorder. These symptoms come without warning and you will never know when this is going to happen.
There is no single cause for panic disorders but it can mostly be inherited. It can also be due to life stressors, assuming excessive responsibilities – carrying the world on your shoulders –or due to certain medications.
For some people, panic disorder comes with the fancy term “Agoraphobia” which makes it difficult to stay in places or situations from which escape might be difficult such as malls, bus, plane, being in crowd, elevators.
Panic disorder is treatable.
Ipek Aykol, LMFT 97315